LIMA — Saturday’s nonconference boys basketball matchup between Temple Christian and visiting Miller City was a game of two halves.
Unfortunately for Temple Christian, neither half swayed in its favor.
In the first half, it was all Noah Otto, who poured in 19 points for Miller City. He did not score in the second half.
Then in the second half, it was pretty much all Mark Kuhlman, as he poured in 17 second-half points (20 for the game), to help lead Miller City to a convincing 65-45 victory over the Pioneers.
The 6-foot-4 Otto was nearly unstoppable from both down low and outside the perimeter in the first half.
Whether it was an alley-oop from one of his guards, or a shot outside the perimeter, Otto made the Pioneers pay.
In the second half, Temple Christian (7-7) took Otto out of the mix. However, Kuhlman heated up in the final two quarters of action, after scoring just three points in the first half.
Kuhlman also came away with 11 rebounds and dished out six assists – both game highs. Otto pulled down seven boards.
Mitchell Gable (11 points) and Wesley Gerten (12 points, 8 rebounds) also scored in double figures for Miller City (6-6).
“Noah’s a nice player,” Miller City coach Bryan Kuhlman said. “He can do multiple things. Teams have to respect his outside shooting; and when they do that, they tend to overplay it. As soon as we recognize that, the guys are starting to learn they can set that back screen and our guards can throw that lob pass to him, and he can knock it down.”
In the second half, Coach Kuhlman’s son took it over at the offensive end.
“Mark (Kuhlman) only had like two or three points in the first half,” Coach Kuhlman said. “Then in the second half, when they started defending Noah a little bit tougher, it was Mark’s turn. We’re going to have to work together to get wins. I thought tonight we played well together.”
Brody Bowman, who was held to just four points in the first half, led Temple Christian with 16 points. Teammate Noah Howell scored 14 points. Including four 3-pointers. Howell also pulled down seven rebounds and made four steals at the defensive end.
Otto and Gerten combined for 15 first-quarter points, as the two battled inside for most of their points.
Dawson Draper (9 points, three 3-pointers) kept the Pioneers close, hitting two 3-pointers in the first eight minutes of action as Miller City pulled out to an 18-10 lead by the first stop.
In the second quarter, Miller City pushed the tempo.
The Wildcats mounted an 8-0 run, pulling out to a 26-10 lead, just two minutes into the second frame. Otto jump-started Miller City, scoring two quick shots, early on.
Temple was 0 for 11 from the field in the second quarter – 4 for 29 in the first half. Miller City’s lead ballooned to 31-14 by the halftime break as the Wildcats outscored the Pioneers 13-4 in the second quarter.
However, the Pioneers opened the second half with a 13-6 run.
Bowman cut the deficit to 10, 37-27 at the 4:20 mark, on a layup and free throw.
Temple got hot from the outside, hitting four 3-pointers in the third frame. Bowman scored 10 points in the third quarter. Noah Howell connected twice behind the 3-point line for the Pioneers.
“We came out and struggled to put the ball in the basket in the first half,” Temple Christian coach Bruce Bowman said. “They (Miller City) got several second shots, and that type of thing. In the first half, they beat us badly on the glass. But I thought in the second half, we came out and fought a lot harder, and we did a better job on the boards and we finally made a few shots. But we spent a lot of energy to get it to 10, and then they scored a couple buckets. It takes a lot of air out of your sails and you start to extend yourself a little bit more than you would like.”
The Wildcats pulled out to a 46-35 advantage by the third stop.
Howell kept the Pioneers in the hunt, hitting twice behind the arc and scoring eight fourth-quarter points. Miller City was nearly perfect at the free throw line, making 9 of 10 on the night.
“This was a big game for us,” Coach Kuhlman said. “Last night (loss to Ottoville) we had a really good third quarter, but we let a very good Ottoville team get the better of us. We talked today at practice that we wanted to come in and do things fundamentally correct. For the most part, we were able to, from the start of the game to the end of the game.”
From the field, Temple connected on just 28 percent of its shots. Miller City, on the other hand, made 42 percent of its field goal attempts.
Miller City dominated the boards, 43-27.
The Pioneers committed 11 turnovers, while Miller City turned the ball over eight times.
“We defended hard,” Coach Kuhlman said. “They’ve got some guys on the outside who can really shoot. And we were able to knock down some shots and come out of here with a win.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.